Confidence and composure are two words that aptly describe Adolf Dalke. This experienced chicken farmer exudes calm and self-assurance, traits which have placed him in good stead in the 37 years that he has been in the chicken business.
Born in Germany, Adolf has spent most of his life in Southern British Columbia. He was first exposed to the chicken industry when he caught birds for the farmer who lived up the road. One day, the farmer pulled him aside and suggested that Adolf consider getting into the industry as well. Keeping the advice on the back burner, Adolf spent several years in heavy construction where he cut his teeth building a series of pulp mills and refineries.
A few years later, he applied for a new entrant growth program from the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board, along with his two brothers. All three were selected in 1971 and were each allotted birds.
Adolf was allocated 8,000 birds. Along with his wife Alice, he raised a flock that was half roasters and half Cornish. In 1974, the quota was converted to broilers and the farm has been growing broilers ever since.
For a time, he continued to work construction with his brothers as they built a variety of poultry and dairy barns but, over the years, he slowly let go of the construction to concentrate on his birds. “I like the birds,” he said, “watching them grow as we try to improve from flock to flock is rewarding.”
Adolf believes the chicken industry in Canada has made great steps forward in moving ahead on issues of biosecurity, surveillance, disease control, and especially food safety and animal care. Stability and a guaranteed price for consumers are two other reasons that Adolf is proud to be part of a Canadian success story.
While things have not always gone smoothly for the Dalkes, they remain optimistic. “We’re used to facing adversity,” he said, “since my wife and I started we’ve had everything that could go wrong happen to us: floods, a three tonne feed spill, losing a large number of birds to heat loss, a fire, everything that could go wrong has. We never got discouraged, despite the adversity. Worrying doesn’t help. You just have to roll up your sleeves and fix the problem.” He’s hoping that the industry will continue to grow, and that it remains as strong and stable as it is today.